Lily, only one and a half months left and you will exhibit in Berlin's Gallery theARTer some of your great works. How does it feel?
To be honest I felt a little overwhelmed at first. The works that theARTer Gallery represents are very impressive and, to be honest, I have a bad habit of doubting myself sometimes. However the gallery has been incredibly supportive, as have my friends; so now I'm feeling very excited and am really looking forward to the opening night. I'm quite proud of the works that I have created and it will be interesting to see how people react to them.
You would like the exhibition to be titled „Mêlée“ (Handgemenge, Gewühl oder Gedränge). Why?
I usually never title my shows and I decided this time that I really needed to, to set the mood. It is titled „Mêlée“ to reflect the confusion and manic nature of my characters. On my visit to London, I was really taken by surprise by the "security" measures that were in place. When your at the train stations especially, there are warning signs everywhere, "Report any suspicious behavior"..etc, and there are announcements that go off every few minutes about this too. I just felt that the people who have to deal with that day to day were really all just confused and scuffling about. So, I think that is the main reason why I titled the show „Mêlée“.
I know explaining the own art is often very difficult for an artist. But how would you describe, or present your art?
My artwork is simply a reflection of me, my experiences, my thoughts and ideas. It is sometimes autobiographical, sometimes comical, sometimes tormented and sometimes crazy, it depends on my state of mind at the time. My work is also an exploration of the technical elements of drawing and painting, which I find very important to develop my work. I think each piece should aim to be better, technically, than the last.
What images will be exhibited in July? Also paintings?
I will be exhibiting a series of ink drawings that I have been working on over the last couple of months. I will also exhibit one of my paintings from Australia that I felt would fit in quite well with the theme of this exhibition.
Your „drawings“ are made with ink ball pen. Is that right? I only knew these kind of pens from technical drawings like architects use; so it´s very special.
My drawings are created using felt-tip pens. I used to work a lot in ball-point, but felt tip blends into water a bit better if I choose to do shading with ink. I used to feel a bit bad about using felt tip, as many artists tend not to hold a high regard for this as an artistic medium. However I’m not other artists and I love to work in pen.
I guess you don´t like the term „drawing“ for your art. What is more suitable in your opinion?
No, actually I do like the term drawing. I just think that in the realm of art, drawings are always overlooked for paintings. Or there is still the age old assumption that drawings are only good to the lead up of something better. But, I think it is time we stopped thinking like that, there are a lot of amazing artists out there who draw. I feel that if an image is engaging then it doesn't matter what medium it's created in.
And how many pens been wasted for one image?
Good question. Well, it depends on the image. If it’s an A2 sized image with heavy shading, I could probably do a smaller drawing before the pens are nearly dead. But I keep all my pens, as different stages of them running out can be useful on shading another image. So, I'd say I go through two and a half pens each drawing.
So most of the images are black and white, but as expressive as coloured ones.
I Think it´s because of your talent for sharing, or illustrating varying moods and diverse emotions in a human face.
Isn´t this one of the difficult region or sphere an artist can choose?
It can be very challenging to portray moods and expression in this way. I used to find it very difficult to capture people being expressive which very much bothered me. Because of this I began to do a lot of life drawing and became obsessed with studying people and their moods. Hands and feet are another example of very difficult aspects of the human body to draw. I think that it is important for an artist, whenever they find something difficult, to focus on it and push the boundaries of their work.
Lily, you´re born in Australia, now living in Berlin. Why have you chosen Berlin to live and work? And do you like the city?
At the end of my studies I wanted to do something more than just continue exhibiting in Melbourne, so I began thinking that traveling was a good idea. Many people I had worked with artistically told me how much they enjoyed Berlin and that there was art of all kinds happening here. So I booked some tickets to come see it for myself.
I do love the city, very much so, and it was nothing like I expected. I don’t really know anyone here, but I don’t think I need to, there is so much to see and experience. I am truly envious of anybody who gets to live here!
I know that you´ve also studied in Australia. What kind of subject exactly?
I did my studies at the Victoian College of the Arts, in Melbourne. My major study was Drawing, but I also did some printmaking and painting. It was good, but unfortunately the school has been undergoing a lot of cutbacks. By the time I had finished it wasn’t as good as when I first started out, which is a shame for future students.
Talking about some of your images:
Brothers Grimm Pt. I reminds me of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine before one fight, where Brothers Grimm Pt. II looks like „The Joker“ after a brilliant coup.
So where do you search and find your influences?
Brothers Grim is a band from my home town Melbourne, Australia. They were friends of mine and I really wanted to draw them as they both have personable characters, though quite different from one another. So, I chose to draw these men as I wanted to capture them in my style.
I ask my subjects to pull strange faces or put on extreme expressions and my partner or I photograph them for my source material. My influence to do this comes from an idea I had a year ago which was to capture people looking crazy or 'ugly' (For lack of a better term). But I think it has now developed into a larger project, my work is starting to reflect my questions and theories about people and society.
I even love your self-portrait with your „alter ego“. On one hand there is innocent Lily with eyes like a deer, but straight behind your back there is your second self with a hideous face, really terrifying and disfigured. Is that just self-ironic?
Yes I think it is. It’s about how much I challenge and push myself; which can sometimes be torturous. I am really my own worst enemy as well as harshest critic. I have always found myself to be quite a negative person and I'm trying not to be, so I guess this image was me trying to exorcise that particular demon.
This image must be very importat for you, because you´ve selected this one for the flyer.
It is important to me, I find the hardest thing to do is a successful self portrait so I'm quite proud of this one. It also reflects a lot about my personality and how I feel about myself, so I think that it is a very appropriate image to represent the exhibition with.
And one last question: What does art itself means to you?
Art, art is an expression and reflection of the people. It is what challenges ideas and what brings forth new ones. It can be anything from a comic book to a video installation. It shouldn’t be something that only has merit due to sales. It should be something that has some conceptual as well as technical aspect. Apart from that, it’s just something no one else seems to be able to agree on.